Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
On May 16, City Council chambers in the staid Municipal Plaza Building came alive with the sounds of second line jazz music when musician Henry Brun led a procession of players up to the mezzanine level after a downtown awards ceremony. The group played for nearly an hour as the council awaited the arrival of Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
“It was a blast. People were dancing,” Brun said.
Now, Nirenberg has initiated a new City Council Local Music Spotlight program to play 30-second recordings of original compositions by San Antonio musicians to begin council meetings, and during breaks.
Already officially designated a “Music Friendly Community” by the Texas Music Office, the program will provide “an opportunity for all citizens to hear the incredible music that their fellow residents create,” Nirenberg stated in a Wednesday news release.
Video introductions to council meetings had already included music, said Krystal Jones, film and music commissioner for the City's Department of Arts and Culture, but the music was "canned," essentially generic free-source music. The thought was, “Well, why don’t we play local music?” she said, to honor the city’s talent and music-friendly designation.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity ... to support the musicians of the community and find ways to step forward on promoting our local talent,” Brun said. Also, the program will “bring a little bit of pizzazz to these meetings, which can be a little tense at times,” he said.
The 11-member San Antonio Arts Commission’s Music Committee will review submissions and select from among them every two months at regularly scheduled meetings.
All genres are welcome, said Brun, who chairs the Music Committee, expressing confidence that “whoever is tasked to judge these will use proper judgement and good taste.”
The City will likely include information on the musicians in the introduction videos, Brun said, and Jones said full information on all musicians included in the program will be made available on the department’s website. Musicians may also provide direct links to their own websites and streaming music.
Musicians can submit up to three original songs for consideration, by following submission guidelines and filling out a downloadable application, both available here, by clicking the “Get Plugged In” tab.
If selected, musicians will be notified, and excerpts of their songs will be played at the start of City Council “A Session” meetings, which take place the first three Thursdays of each month at 9 a.m. in City Council Chambers on the first floor of the Municipal Plaza Building, and at the start of “B Session” meetings, which occur on the first three Wednesdays at 2 p.m. in the media room of the same building. Meetings are also broadcast on local cable television and streamed live on the City’s TVSA web page.
Jones said the program kicks off Thursday, Aug. 2, with Federico Chavez Blanco’s official Tricentennial composition Celebration, originally written for the New Year’s Eve fireworks display at Hemisfair.